A case that Goldberg Kohn Principal David Chizewer is leading is featured in "General Iron Owners Say They’ve Been Demonized, Deny Environmental Racism Charge in New Court Filing," published in the March 30, 2021, edition of the Chicago Sun Times.
The article concerns a new court filing in which the owners of the scrap metal-shredder formerly known as General Iron denied charges their planned move to the Southeast Side amounts to environmental racism, and claimed the new facility will be “the most environmentally conscious recycling facility in the country.”
The motion filed by new owners Southside Recycling was made in a federal lawsuit alleging the city is violating residents’ civil rights by allowing the business to relocate from wealthy, mostly white Lincoln Park to an already polluted Southeast Side community home to mostly people of color. The lawsuit was filed in an attempt to prevent the city from issuing the final operating permit to open the new $80 million facility.
Southside Recycling, which is not listed as a defendant, filed the motion as an “amicus party.” The filing says that plaintiffs in the suit - two residents and a pastor - have failed to provide evidence that the proposed move would worsen the air quality on the Southeast Side, and urges the court to come to a quick decision.
It was written partially in response to a letter submitted by the plaintiffs in the case and signed by hundreds of individuals and more than 70 health care, social justice, urban planning and other groups alleging that the move amounts to environmental racism. The motion writes off these claims, saying “these conclusions are offered without a shred of data or science to explain how health would be threatened.”
“Instead, a well-organized and emotionally charged opposition has relied on the politically appealing, yet demonstrably false, assumption that if the facility has stopped operating on the North Side, it must be harmful for the South Side,” the motion written by David Chizewer states.
The motion says Southside Recycling’s expansion to a 175-acre plot makes it “far superior from an environmental and operational standpoint” to the 10-acre plot in Lincoln Park, and claims that its new pollution control systems will make it “the most environmentally conscious recycling facility in the country” with an ample buffer zone.
“It can be difficult to question such emotional outcry from an overburdened community. But in this particular case, the facts must prevail over Plaintiffs’ symbolic demonizing of Southside Recycling,” the motion states.